Susan Blumberg-KasonDec 7, 2023
Bernardine's Shanghai Salon
The Story of the Doyenne of Old China
Post Hill Press 2023
In 1929, Bernardine Szold Fritz left Paris on a train bound for China. She was on her way to her fourth wedding, and her fourth husband: An American investment banker named Chester Fritz, who’d proposed after a whirlwind meeting earlier in Shanghai. Bernardine is then forced to find herself things to do in interwar China–and her husband isn’t helping much.
That’s how Susan Blumberg-Kason’s newest book, Bernardine’s Shanghai Salon: The Story of the Doyenne of Old China (Post Hill Press: 2023), starts. The book charts Bernardine’s life as she sets up a theater, and makes friends with such illustrious figures like Lin Yutang, Victor Sasoon and Anna May Wong.
In this interview, Susan and I talk about Bernardine, her life, and why interwar Shanghai remains such a compelling setting for fiction and nonfiction writers.
Susan Blumberg-Kason is also the author of a memoir, Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong. She is also the co-editor of Hong Kong Noir . Susan is a regular contributor to the Asian Review of Books, Cha: An Asian Literary Review and World Literature Today. Her work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, PopMatters, and the South China Morning Post.
Nicholas Gordon is an editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon.